First Year (The Black Mage #1)
by Rachel E. Carter
Magic. Romance. Rivals. Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Falling Kingdoms, and Tamora Pierce.
Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice —pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…
For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.
Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail—first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.
Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames?
Ryiah and her twin brother Alex were on their way to the Academy when a group of riders separated them and halted their journey. Alex got away from them without a scratch; Ryiah on the other hand ended the fight with cuts and bruises and blood. How she was able to get away from a burning bandit was a shock to her.
The Academy was that one place most teens of Jerar had dreamed of going. There they’d be given the choice to train themselves to becoming a soldier, a knight or a mage. And Ryiah was determined to train in Combat and prove herself worthy.
As a first year, together with her brother and new found friends, life in the Academy wasn’t exactly how they envisioned it to be. There were a lot of hurdles, challenges, life-threatening tasks and foes who looked down on their lowborn status.
And then there’s non-heir prince Darren.. First time they met, they clashed, daggers in their eyes, contempt in their words, distrust in each other’s guts.
I couldn’t stop reading this once I started with the first chapter. This was really good! Ryiah was so likeable, a heroine that I’d love to meet one day. She’s got the spunk and strong resolve that made her a very endearing character. Her twin Alex was a good comic relief, in my opinion, although he also got that manly qualities a woman would find quite admirable. Prince Darren, oh yes, he’s stubborn and arrogant at first, but deep within him was a child you’d love to cuddle and protect.
It’s been a long time since I last read a fantasy/YA book and it feels really awesome to start my year with an awesome story like First Year. It got the feels of Harry Potter and Throne of Glass and Sword of Truth series. I so love love love how the story unfolded. I love the surprises along the way and the plot really had me turning the pages. Rachel E. Carter’s writing was hypnotic and addicting and thrilling. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!